Anyone remember way back to April when we bought our new HDTV at cost from my BIL? We'll today the $200 rebate finally came in the mail.
I've never had a rebate come back so slowly. Or, maybe I have. When it's $200, you keep track of it just a little closer than if it was $2.00. Well, I do anyway.
Thrilled to finally have it, too. It is arriving at a great time, with a few travel trips ahead of us and a birthday this weekend. Just a nice cushion of cash to have available if needed.
I would really like to see it go to the home equity loan, but I will need to wait to see how a few things shake out.
Off to put it into the bank...via online deposit. I love it!!
Archive for June, 2008
Anyone remember way back to April when we bought our new HDTV at cost from my BIL? We'll today the $200 rebate finally came in the mail.
Around here, we look forward to the first of the month! It's payday.
We spent the weekend trying not to spend money. We did okay...but we did spend. It seems when DH is around I give in to his wants. This weekend it was Chinese food and long island ice tea mix. See why I say...wants? We did not need either of these. We had other food in the house and we didn't need to drink.
So, tomorrow is payday, we will stock up on groceries for the week and pay our regular bills. Life won't feel so tight again.
I need to pay the mortgage, flute rental, phone bill (includes cell phones & internet), send in college contributions, add money to our own escrow account and add money to our savings. The water bill will arrive soon and I'll need to pay that, too.
Also, need to pay off DH government travel card. Yuck...don't like when he overspends and doesn't get reimbursed!
Tickets for 4: $120.00
Total cost to enjoy the Olympic spirit:
$180 plus food
I've loved the Olympics ever since I went as a kid. I went when they were held in Los Angelos in 1984. It was so fun. You could just feel the competitive, yet unifying, spirit in the air.
All four of us get to see the U.S. swimming trials next week. We don't know which events or which swimmers we will see, but we sure hope to see someone advance to the final team!
This is held here in the US, not Beijing! Hence, the reason we are able to go so inexpensively!!
The remainder of our day has involved some home repairs. The nice thing about it is that we had all the supplies we needed! We handled two paint projects and our patio screen door.
The first paint project was to repaint the wood window frame behind the kitchen sink. I only painted the lower portion, where the paint was peeling off. The glossy white paint came with the house!! I just mixed for about 10 minutes and it was ready to paint with. I even had a sponge brush to put it on with.
The second paint project was outside. The trim around our garage door began peeling this winter. Not so sure about the quality of the paint job the last owners did. I think the whole thing may need to be painted again before we move. DH pulled out paint I used on the front porch railing last year and touched up around the front door and garage door. Again...free for today!
The screen door project did involve an exchange. For some reason, the original one I bought a few weeks ago just didn't fit. We returned it and went to another hardware store. It was actually about $1 less! So, with new patio screen door we are letting in all the cool breezes tonight for no additional cost!!
Oh, just remembered that I also caulked outside in a few areas that were in need. This was done with caulk leftover from another project. Did you know you can insert a screw into an opened tube of caulk until the next use?
It's fun to see what projects can be done around home with items one already has on hand. We feel like we've been productive and frugal all at the same time! Unfortunately, not all home repairs can be done frugally.
I did read in our local paper about the Habitat Restore. I assume many areas may have these as they had one in my last state, too. The store accepts donations of used building materials and fixtures, including opened cans of paint. These are then resold to the public for their own frugal home repairs. Apparently, ours actually gets new items in, from contractors and building supply places. Great resource, if you are short on money for these projects.
Now...time for a glass of wine with my hubby!
I was hoping that we would avoid spending any money this weekend. Not happening.
We headed out to our local farmers market this morning to enjoy the outdoors and the atmosphere. I did intend on buying sugar snap peas. They are so yummy right now! I bought two large containers for $6.
However, we also bought a large loaf of ciabatta bread for $5. I also bought the girls a juice drink to share for $4.75 along with a large cookie for $1.50. DH also bought a coffee...not sure on his total. I bet we spent over $20.00. Parking was free!
We then moved our van to another location a couple miles away to enjoy our local art fair that is going on this weekend. The art is pretty expensive to buy, but it is free to look at. One daughter got a free balloon. We stopped to listen to free music while the girls ate the cookie from the farmers market.
My husband is now mowing the lawn while the girls play with the neighbor girls. So, maybe now we can keep to no more spending this weekend.
We do have one errand to run. I need to return a patio screen door that did not fit. Hopefully, we can find the right size for the same amount that I spent on the original. I want a screen door so I can have my patio door open to let in all the nice breezes we are getting today!
Oh, on a decluttering note, I tossed out our old gazebo cover today. We replaced it with a new one this year as the old one was getting pretty torn up.
Now...to find something free to do!
cash, stock options and or real estate !
Really, this would be a job I would love to help people with. I have only received pay once...and that was from my sister!!
The satisfying feeling of order is what drives me to dig through piles of junk. When I was still a teenager, I even sent away for information from the National Association of Professional Organizers. Well, college got in the way and I earned a degree in finance.
Now, I'm a stay at home mom with a finance degree with time on my hands to help others declutter and organize. Has anyone ever hired one? How much did they charge?
I really think this would be a flexible and fun way to earn some cash. Any ideas on how to promote such a thing? What would you pay someone to help you clean up and organize a room?
I'm fired up!! I made another payment to the home equity loan today in the amount of $5...yes, $5.00.
Why such a small amount? It's my Pinecone survey check I received in the mail yesterday. All survey money is going to the home equity loan.
In the last 7 days, I have made three extra payments to principal on the loan. Two for $25.00 and one for $5. My regular payment on this loan is only $118...so I've almost made an additional half payment.
I'm so excited to get moving on this, even if it is just a small dent at this point. Having paid off some debt in the past I know that the small payments make a difference, too!!
Some of our goals for 2008 are:
1)Save 15% of gross salary - retirement
2)Save $2000 for each child - college
3)Save down payment & purchase newer van
4)Begin to payoff home equity loan. (Really would like to pay off by May 2010)
We are on track to meet goals 1 & 2. We make contributions monthly to meet our yearly goals. Retirement is automatically. I do write checks for the education accounts...same time every month.
Goal three was accomplished last month with the purchase of a 2007 Honda Odyssey. We've been waiting over a year to make this happen.
I began working on goal 4 as of last week when I made my first extra principal payment of $25. Today I sent another $25.00 payment towards the loan. By the end of June, I hope to be able to send over $350 extra per month. I also intend to put any extra money on I make on ebay, craigslist, garage sales, and surveys toward this loan as well.
thinning out my filing cabinet. Wow, I don't think that I've been through these papers in over 2 years...maybe even three. I had utility bills from my last house in there.
The picture is of two bags of shredded papers for recycling. One bag is not shredded but also ready for the recycle bin. Did you notice the trash can is still full of shredded paper? Also, there is a small pile of paper that my DH is going to shred at work for me. My shredder can't keep up with the amount of paper I'm finding!!
I feel so much lighter. I noticed that some folders didn't have anything current in them. You know why? I receive those items electronically now and actually save them on my computer. Reminds me that I want to get a flash drive to back up some of those things.
Keep decluttering and erasing the evidence! I hope some of you are working on erasing your evidence of debt, too!!
Yesterday, I was getting the house cleaned up. My DH was coming home after 3 weeks out of state. I was able to erase the evidence (ETE) all day long. My girls even joined in and erased their own evidence. That was a huge breakthrough. I hope it continues!! I save so much time, if I don't have to pick up after them.
Another beautiful day here. Nice enough to open the windows and turn off the air. I've had at least four days this month with no air!! I'm guessing weather wise there could have been more, but youngest daughter's allergies also play a factor.
Yesterday, I bought groceries and spent less than $100 for our family of four. This should be enough to get us through the end of the month. I also used my new canvas shopping bags. I brought only one plastic bag coming home. I think I usually come home with at least ten. Huge difference!
I did go to Aldi for my first time yesterday. I took my girls. They loved that you had to put a quarter in to get a cart. We didn't actually get a cart, but the liked the idea. My daughter even brought her own quarter to use!
We picked up 3 things. Baby carrots, bag of red onions and ice cream bars for the girls. My total was $4.29. The woman ahead of me had a cart full of groceries. Her total was $79! I was very impressed with many of the prices. I'm sure I will be back.
This morning we traveled to our downtown farmers market. We bought 1 quart of strawberries for $5, a quart of sugar snap peas for $4 (later saw these for $2 at another stand), a dutch letter for the girls to share for $1.50, and romaine lettuce for $2. Parking was free as was the poetry reading, the music, the view of the river that is finally beginning to recede but is still higher than normal. We saw a three month old puppy, cool art, and many pretty flowers.
I really would love to make this a regular Saturday event for my family. It is just a good time. I think I need to go just a bit earlier next time, so that it is cooler and the crowd is not as thick.
We received $25 rewards from my debit card the other day. This is the extra money that I sent off to the home equity loan payoff. I expect to get a little interest on our money market account and some funds from ebay sales...all will go the home equity payoff.
Today was the sign up for dance and tumbling classes. I paid for the year in full in cash...$730. One daughter decided not to take dance because we expect she might be a bit busier in middle school with homework. This saved me from spending another $300. Love that!! I will hold on to it, in case we did to make a payment towards braces.
I reworked out escrow account today, too. I decided to start saving for dance classes for next year. Turns out instead of my previous monthly amount of $124, the new amount will be $200. I will split this evenly between the two checks we receive each month.
It was a good money day. Tomorrow I must grocery shop because my dearest soldier husband is coming home from three weeks of training. Can't wait to see him.!!
If you don't know what ETE is...read my post from yesterday. I did great with it today!
Those letters stand for something and I'll let you know what it is in a moment.
By knowing what ETE is I am able to:
have a party at the drop of the hat
Wow! What could possibly do all that?
ETE refers to erase the evidence. It is a little organization helper, that reminds me to pick up after myself. If I make a turkey sandwich, I must clean off the counters and put everything away so that it appears I was never even there.
ETE saves me time, because I put things back where they go...without misplacing or redirecting them. ETE saves me money for the same reason. I know where all my bills and library books are.
I confessed to my sister just today that I was a little compulsive about order at times. Why? It really seems to make me calmer. Although, I've realized in the last 6 months that there are other ways to relax. I also deserve to relax even before I get everything in order.
ETE means I don't have to pick up for company. I've already done it as I go along. Of course, I'm still trying to teach the rest of the family.
Disneysteve...anyone else want to try? See if it works for you this week. Think ETE...Erase the Evidence. Do it all day long or just once a day. For me it's both! Remember, I told you I'm a bit compulsive.
We decided last night that the girls and I would go to some garage sales today. We lucked out and found a neighborhood sale of 10 homes that we could park and then walk to.
The girls had to spend their own money on anything they wanted to bring home. Many of the houses had kids selling drinks and snacks. I did buy them a donut and a lemonade.
I bought three large rubbermaid containers. When I say large...it mean it. These are 31 gallon size. Each was $2. I paid all in quarters that I had leftover from my garage sale!
Older daughter bought a lava lamp, while younger daughter bought a Bratz doll in a case. Not too bad!! I avoided bringing home stuffed animals. In fact, the rule was if they bought a stuffed animal they had to get rid of 5 when we returned home.
I just hate bringing stuffed animals home when we already have so many...beside where have they been?
In an effort to avoid, spending more money I completed a project today. I bought caulk for our kitchen counter backsplash over a month ago. Today, I scraped off the old stuff and applied the new. I'm good at caulking, so it looks much better than before. Yea me!!
I'm very tempted to take my kids with me tonight for our first visit to Aldi...but I need to get dinner going and clean up a bit. Aldi has some good prices on produce this week...maybe every week, but this week I noticed their advertisement.
Some of you may have noticed that my goal of home equity payoff is going very slow. So far, I have only made regular monthly payments. As a result, I'm only paying about $23 towards principal each month.
Today I have made an extra principal payment of $25. I know it is a bit small. I'm a bit out of shape with debt payoff. The last debt I paid off was about 4 years ago. It's hard to let go of what I feel is extra money...money to hold in my savings account or even spend on something else.
The $25 that I paid today is a symbolic of my desire to really pay off this home equity loan. Did you hear that home equity loan? I'm coming to get you. You are not going to survive my extra payments for long!! There are more to come.
I'm not decluttering like Disneysteve
...yet! However, I am doing a little bit of spring cleaning. Only a few days left and it will be summer.
I have artificial plants above my kitchen cabinets in baskets. It looks pretty until they become dusty.
Today was such a cool calm weather that I decided to pull them all out onto the deck for a cleaning. I pulled the greenery out of the baskets and literally hosed the dust off them with water. In a short time, they are dry again.
I used a special spray for artificial plants to remove the dust from the greenery. You simply spray until dripping wet and wait to dry. Amazingly, the dust is gone and the leaves are shiny again. In the past I have used a bucket of water and a microfiber cloth to wash each leaf by hand. It is very time consuming.
The spray was $4.97 and I have yet to use half. It is quick and looks nice. Next time, I think I will just try the hose on all of it. How much could water hurt a plastic plant? I'm pretty sure the water would cost less than the spray.
Final take home for the 5 items I sold on ebay will be $25.75! Pretty good average.
I still would like to find another $25 worth of items to sell. This may not happen until August. I have dance shoes to sell, but I think I may get a better price on them in early August when people begin thinking about such things.
I also have a few dance clothes that have been outgrown, too. I need to start searching garage sales for new dance shoes and leotards.
I went to the dentist today for the first time in 20 months. Here's what I regret about waiting so long...
1. The plaque came off in chunks...well some of it. REALLY!
2. I paid premiums for 18 months with no personal benefits. That's also like paying premiums for 18 months for one visit.
3. I had to buy more toothbrushes...since I didn't get any for free.
Turns out I did not have any cavities...so I didn't do any major health damage!
I turned off the A/C last night. It is cool and not very humid here right now. Usually, we keep the house closed because of daughter's allergies. She medicated so she seems to be doing fine. It just feels glorious to be in the fresh air...in addition to saving a little cash. It looks like we may have this nice weather all week!!
Today, the girls and I have dentist appointments. No copay. I expect today to be a no spend day. I could really use a few of those.
To fill the time, while I'm not spending money, I will mow my lawn and do other yard maintenence. I'm also going to plant some flowers for a neighbor. She just left for a vacation and just didn't get them in the ground.
Tomorrow, my mom is driving here for a day visit. She likes to treat us when she is here, so I expect that tomorrow will be another NSD.
I'd really like to make it through the whole week without spending. I was thinking garage sales for Thursday or Friday...but that might mean spending a few dollars. If we don't buy anything it would be cheap entertainment...if we do, it will be a good deal.
I decided to do some calculating on our escrow account. This is not the one associated with our mortgage for insurance and taxes. We have a escrow set up for ourselves to pay for annual or semi annual expenses.
In our case, we escrow for my life insurance, our auto registrations, auto insurance, and a gym membership. I will also be adding in money for dance/tumbling lessons.
Recently, we bought a van. As a result our insurance went up by $70/year. There is also a major increase to our registration fee since we traded an 11 year old van for one that is less than a year old. The increase for registration is $294.00
Old escrow payment: $124/mo
New escrow payment: $239/mo
I will start the new escrow payment amount in July.
My ebay sales ended yesterday. Out of 13 items I sold 9. I don't think I will relist the other items at this time. Some items were mine others were my neighbors.
My 5 items grossed $29.65...not too bad. I will take a break from sales for a few weeks while I find some more items to sell. I know they are in this house somewhere!!
The listing for my couch expired yesterday, so I have relisted it for $100. I had it down to $125 before. I'm dropping it again in hopes of getting it out of here, while getting a little cash, too. I need to get the couch out since it is now a bit crowded with the new to us piano I purchased last week.
I have a Land's End couch cover that I was selling with it, but have decided to sell it separately on ebay.
We had my best friend and her family here for a visit this past weekend. She wrote me a check for $50 to cover food, gas (since I drove them around) and other incidentals. It definitely helps me and I know they appreciated not having to stay in a hotel two nights.
Weekend spending was a little high because of the guests and outings. Seemed to be mostly snacks for my kids.
Upcoming expenses, small increase to insurance premium because of new van. We owe $26.76 for the remainder of the period which ends in October.
Youngest daughter will have a birthday in July. She wants a hamster. We will probably have a party of some sort. On this one, it may be out of town with the grandparents. Decisions still have to be made on that because it is more costly to travel than stay home for obvious reasons.
Youngest daughter is in Bible School this week. They have a mission project to collect toiletry items for kids and young adults. Going out today to buy a few items to donate.
DH was paid recently and I have put $675 in our slush fund. I think some of this may get spent before the next pay period, but the goal is to hang on to at least half of it.
Sign up for dance lessons is this coming Saturday. I have the cash set aside for this. For the whole year, it will be either $730 for two classes or $1025 for three. One daughter is still deciding if she wants to take the extra class. I'm wishing she doesn't...but will be fine either way.
Next month we will begin searching for piano teachers. The budget will need to be updated when we add this new expense. It may be a bit costly because the 7 year old and husband both want to learn.
Spending, spending, spending!! I really need to find more things to sell or get a job.
At Christmas time, I made some peanut butter candies that required whipping cream. I was unable to find the small container I needed, so ended up with a larger container and more than I needed.
I froze the remainder. I recently realized that this could be used to make homemade butter. So, I set it in the fridge to thaw for a couple of days.
Today, the girls and I shook that whipping cream for about 20 minutes. Eventually, it turned clumpy and we drained off the buttermilk. We added a little salt for taste. What do you know? It did taste like the butter I love!
It feels great to have found something unique for my girls to do, as well as, having found a use for the extra whipping cream!
I hope I can find a few more things for them to do this summer that are just laying around our house ready to be discovered!! Any thoughts or ideas?
Last year, our first summer in our new town, we purchased a combined membership for the zoo, the science center and a histroy farm. Total cost $199. I'm pretty sure it was worth our money as we went mulitiple times.
This year we are opting out of the zoo and science center. We've been zoo members for many years and as our girls have grown it doesn't seem to be as interesting to them. The science center doesn't change their exhibits frequently, so we are also opting out of that one.
We've decided to stick with the history farm membership for $70. I will buy it this weekend when my best friend and her family come for a visit.
The history farm is one of those unique things about our city and is really educational with hand on chores for kids to experience. There are also several other out of town family members who have expressed an interest in going. We will save quite a bit with a membership if all those out of town visitors want to go.
What is your take on memberships? Do you use them or avoid them? Which ones do you use the most?
to my sister. She's a year younger and married. Her husband recently changed jobs and their term insurance was up. So they scheduled an appointment with a friend of a friend.
Long story short the agent tried to sell them a variable annuity for her DH to roll his 401k into. The fund had an expense ratio of 1.75%!! He also suggested whole life insurance again.
She called me before and after the meeting. I gave her some questions to ask. Turns out based on my advise she was ticked at the agent for seeming to not take their best interests to heart.
My suggestion was for her husband to simply roll the 401k over to Fidelity IRA where she currently has hers. The expense ratios are significantly less and there are no surrender charges. The don't need the death benefit that the annuity provides because they have term insurance and no kids.
So for now they are leaving their term the same and rolling the 401k to Fidelity. She really wants to start learning more about basic investing decisions. She joked that she should check out some kind of book for dummies. So, today I picked up Personal Finance for Dummies at the library to see what I think about it's basic information.
It's nice that she feels comfortable enough to call me. I do have more experience since I worked at a mutual fund company for a time and was registered with my series 6 license.
How many of you use a professional advisor?
This beautiful piano...
I paid $300 for it. I also paid professional movers to bring it halfway across town. The cost to move was $170.
Now it will need to sit a week or so before I can have it tuned. It still sounds pretty good, but I guess you are suppose to tune it every time you move it.
I also need to be looking for a piano teacher who will teach my youngest daughter and my husband. Next thing you know I will have more beautiful music filling my home. I do have some already as oldest daughter is playing the flute!
My husband is traveling for a few weeks on the west coast. He went out for dinner with his co-workers to a restaurant even though meals are provided on the post.
Yes...the bill for his portion of the meal was $80! This include the entree, two glasses of wine and a tip...and he's always generous with tips!
He told me at first he had picked a salmon dinner off the menu for $28. The waiter then came to tell them the specials. In his mind, special meant discount!! So, he ordered the Halibut special...without asking the price. Turns out it was over $45 for the entree.
At least he said it was really, really good. He decided, on his own he was done spending for the week.
All I can say is how shocked I am. I had no idea he was going on vacation...I thought it was a work trip!!
Anyone else ever paid that much for a single meal?
I listed more items on ebay for the week. I put 13 items up and one sold almost immediately as a Buy it Now.
I took a break from ebay for awhile as it is time consuming. But since my garage sale leftovers are not moving too fast on craigslist I decided to put the best items on ebay.
Some items are my neighbors, I should get a cut of the profits since I'm doing the work.
I think I'll set another ebay goal for June. Since not all the items are mine to claim profit for, I will go for $50. Maybe I'll find a few more things to sell...in fact I'm thinking of some now!!
Daughter has outgrown her dance shoes and leotard.
Ebay profits here I come!
This last year one daughter took tumbling lessons and the other dance (tap, ballet & jazz). I paid the bill monthly since I didn't know if they would complete the whole year. Turns out they liked it, well enough to continue for another.
Early registration is in two weeks. One will take tumbling again...moving up to an advanced class! The other is thinking about Hip Hop...which make the older one want to try that, too. If I pay in full, I don't have to pay the recital fee. That will save me $84...so I think I will do that. Looks to be $1027 if they both take hip hop, or $730 if only one is in hip hop.
I will then need to add dance classes to my escrow account so that next summer I will be sure to have the extra cash when registration comes around. I just lucked out this year to have it at the right time this year!!
$1027/12 = $85.58/ month to escrow
$730/12 = $60.83/month to escrow
I will base the amount I save based on what they actually do this year. I should be okay either way.
I received our Lowe's paint rebate for $5 yesterday. That was fast!! Because of the $5 coupon I used at purchase and this rebate, the paint cost me about $13 for the gallon. I think I used only half for the bathroom, too! Paint really is a cheap makeover.
Goodwill Industries is building a new facility about 2.5 blocks from my house! The other one that is close is being replaced by this one. The new ones are always much nicer. So, easy place for shopping and dropping off donations. Can't wait until it opens. I really do see myself going there more often...it's on the way to Target, too. So, I just might tend to make a pit stop at Goodwill before I go pay full price at Target. Such a deal!
My oldest daughter's mouse, named Melody, died last night. We knew this was coming. The mouse had been having trouble breathing...or so it looked. About a month ago, I even took it to the vet for $25! He said it didn't look good without doing invasive procedures. He gave an antibiotic which was included. It didn't seem to help.
Last night after our tornado warning here...we discovered she had passed on. We will bury her in our back yard later today. Daughter said she was said, but that she was ready to accept it.
So, today we are off to purchase another mouse to give Harmony, the remaining mouse, some company. The new mouse is to be named Poppy. The mouse will cost us less than $3.00. The enjoyment will be priceless.
Thanks for the memories, Melody.
P.S. All is fine from the storm, no tornado touched down.
I put my garage sale leftovers up on craigslist. I sold two children's sleeping bags and one yoga video. Grand total $7!
I have quite a few things still listed, but not too many inquiries. I will be listing many of them on ebay this weekend in the hopes of getting a few sales that way. Craigslist is just too slow for me.
Even my couch is still up for sale! The listing is going to expire pretty soon, too. I guess my price is too high.
I will probably relist and hope the right buyer comes along. I'm really not in a big hurry on it anyway.
Kids are out of school now...so, I will be looking for inexpensive, educational and fun things to do with my girls.
Tonight we played the game of Life together. I'd rather be outside, but it is very humid...so I'm sticking to indoors.
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